Home / Uncategorized / How to Grow and Sell Your Affiliate Business for 8+ Figures | AWasia 2015

How to Grow and Sell Your Affiliate Business for 8+ Figures | AWasia 2015

Okay, let's get started Hello, my name is Chris Hong

For those of you who are in the STM Forum, I post under CMDeal And I'm absolutely delighted to be here today moderating this panel called "How to grow your affiliate business to sell for 8 figures or more" For those of you who are little slow with the math 8 figures would be 10 million dollars or more

Just a quick show of hands amongst people in the audience, how many people in the audience would actually be interested in eventually selling your business for 10 figures or? Okay so, quite a large crowd Let me ask another question, how many of you in the audience today think you could sell your business? Okay, a much smaller number

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So, it looks like there's a great majority of people who are interested in potentially selling their business Ideally for 8 figures or more but very few who believe they can do it right now and would love some guidance around how to potentially make that happen, and but we're in luck We have here 3 incredible entrepreneurs who've each built their online advertising in the marketing business and have sold it for 8 figures That's to say, at least 10 million US dollars And it's an amazing group but what's really fascinating about this group is that each one of this individuals have done and achieved that success in 3 completely different ways

And we're extremely fortunate to have them with us, sharing their experiences So, in terms of introductions to my immediate my immediate right, we have Dirk de Bruin

He sold an affiliate marketing business that was based upon SEO And for those of you who are active in the SEO world, you may know Dirk's partner, Glen Allsopp He has a very famous blog called ViperChill is somewhat of a guru in this space Dirk and Glen built up their SEO business from pretty much scratch Sold it to a South African company earlier this year for at a lower range of 8 figures I'm not allowed to disclose the entire amount We also have, in the middle, Gerard who built and sold his company, who focused primarily around viral content And for those of you who are fortunate enough to attend his speech earlier this morning, you'll know, that he was the founder of Elite Daily, an incredibly successful viral news publication He sold earlier this year to one of the most dominant media companies certainly in the UK and increasingly in the English speaking world, DMGT for mid 8 figures, in fact, exactly 50 million dollars cash to be exact

And then, to the far right, we have Carlos Cashman He built and sold his marketing company, which was very much a pure affiliate marketing company but focused on paid traffic And he sold his company called CourseAdvisor to the Washington Post for well, over 8 figures if the rumors are correct So, 3 amazing entrepreneurs, 3 completely different paths to their success I think we're in for an incredible conversation

So, let's dive right in I'll start with Carlos Carlos, conventional wisdom, at least in this industry amongst many affiliate marketers is that you really can't sell an affiliate business There's no value there there's no enterprise value It's really dependent upon the campaigns that you run If the campaigns die, there's no value left whatsoever And I think all 3 of you are living proof that that is not the case or it doesn't have to be the case

So, let me start by asking, so why have you been able to sell your business for a significant amount of money when so many people in the affiliate marketing world believe that that can't be done? Well, so I know Chris doesn't want me to say this but I'd agree with the conventional wisdom You can't sell a typical a traditional affiliate marketing business, I don't think

There may be certain niche buyers who would be interested but was, we all know, it's to sell something and particularly to sell it for a high value, you really need to build the asset of something that's unique and sustainable And I think that's really the key to doing it

So, cause people are buying, you know usually it's not just buying, you know, revenues or if it die if someone's looking for something, it's gonna continue and has a certain level of stability to it So, the way I look at doing this is and I don't wanna go too far ahead of us here but it's a I've always sort of joked about it We call it the Michael Corleone plan

Anybody's familiar with the Godfather here and that, you know, there were getting out of there, getting out of the business in New York and moving to Vegas and buying casinos and going legit like, you know, there's a great way, you know everybody who does affiliate business here has tapped in to a great source of cash flow and wealth, and if you have but it can be fairly short term thinking, but by having a longer term vision or longer term plan you can use that to build assets that are saleable and they give you something that is unique and sustainable In our case, it was technology, you know, we build unique tech that allowed us to do something no one else could do, particularly at that time it was And it was you know, technology was both broad across the you know, all of the marketing spectrum we used in paid search and also very narrowly focused within an individual vertical and both of those things can add an awful lot of value to a company, to anything

So, you were doing essentially lead generation or affiliate marketing for higher education but instead of just running offers, you build your own technology Can you talk a little bit more about that? Yeah, I mean, you know, it was we were lucky in some ways because of our contacts and network, but we were

this was early on in Google paid search, and there wasn't a lot of tech out there that manage key words And actually Google is only one of four search engines at the time when we were building this, it was a split a third, and a third and a third between Yahoo, Google and Microsoft, and then, there was even Ask Jeeves at 10% of the market So, we actually had to build technology to run our own keywords and run our own bidding on these four search engines, and we were running 250,000 keywords auto bidding and we were able to dial our margin to within a few percent actually

So, if we had customers who needed more leads, we could actually dial down our margin and up the traffic But if we were in a place where we were the customers were happy and we want to maximize our margin, we could go the other way

But so, we focused on building that technology We had a group of

I mean, we had over 19 PhDs actually working on building a lot of this and again, it was lucky with my relationships and and where I gone to school where I was connected to some these folks But that was a broad advertising tech that we actually ended up using separating from the business and using to start multiple other business that have also sold for 8 figures and 9 figures as well since then

Within Course Advisor, we also then went and built vertically specific technology So, we were an education lead generation company There are very particular, as I'm sure a lot of you guys know, in every vertical there is certain weird ways they work, certain things they do and there's a lot of stuff this particular education lead gen that we needed a pretty deep technology stack to address And, you know, it takes time to that I mean

and we didn't do this right we weren't able to make money right away with a site we built and droop all over a weekend And we got that site scaling to, you know, doing half a million a month and growing from there And when we started the rebuild process of this vertical technology, which was supposed to be done in a few months and of course, it took 12 months By the time it was over or by the time we launch that, you know, the other site was doing a few million a month based on something we built on a weekend and drooped over, then, we replaced it and had a pretty strong technology system and what we were bought for was actually that technology in a large way You know, The Post had a large has the largest education division and, you know, they were interested in what we may able to do and accomplish there and how it made that particular industry work really well So Gerard, Carlos talked about building an asset, and in his case it was technology as an asset It wasn't necessarily the campaigns that he was running, or it was one of the campaigns but was supported by this proprietary asset that he had in the technologies So, what was the asset that you built? You know, for us, a lot of it was the team, you know, and, you know, early on my career I mean, you know, it's pretty much a lot of times I was a solo entrepreneur, you know, with a very small team You know, in regards to Elite Daily, I mean, we were able to build an amazing, amazing team that really understood our audience, really understand the content strategies that was not just getting one viral article a month that achieved, you know you know, eighty million unique visitors, but we really had we really were able to master it, you know, and understand and how to get, you know, multiple articles throughout that month and what really triggered our audience to really engage and share that content And, you know, for us it was very much the team and our strategies, and the outlets that we built to really get that distribution out there

What's interesting is that you mentioned team cause I was speaking with an affiliate earlier today about this topic of building assets and then, building a real sustainable company above and beyond just an affiliate campaigns that he was running And, you know, he was reacting saying, "Well, you know, I really don't know, if I wanna have a team I'm not sure if, you know, many of the things that I'm doing, you know, if I reveal my secrets and that person may go running off and just copying me, competing directly with me" and I mean, Dirk this is probably very relevant to you cause you were doing SEO SEO involves quite a lot of techniques that you probably don't wanna necessarily have someone going off and competing directly against you So Dirk, can you talk a little bit about and particularly in your case, you know, you're further challenged in creating value because, you know, you're dependent upon Google's alg- you're dependent upon these trade secrets, partly in terms of getting any type of valuation or assets So, can you talk a little about, you know

did you build a team, how large was the team and how did you, or did you overcome this concern around people stealing your strategies or stealing your ideas? Yeah so, that's always a concern in the affiliate marketing industry also with the SEO, and I'm a big fan of like processes and creating systems And one thing that I can compare it to is say, McDonalds with a the production chain and they broke down all the pieces of the production chain into individual components

So, you have like one guy who is doing the buns or the burger, one guy is doing the beef patties, one guy is all these different guys But they can all be unskilled labor

They can all be minimum wage and they can all be replaced at the same time So, that's what we did with our business as well We broke down the entire production, say the order delivery and the concept of the SEO We broke that down to as many individual aspects as possible where they can all be done by virtual assistants that we could hire for 5 or 6 hundred dollars a month And they wouldn't know, each other's processes, so everyone would only know one little piece of the process, and even if those people disappeared or even if they took that data that they had, they couldn't really do anything with it because it was simply limited to just that part of the task

And when we grew, we had about twelve full time assistants and about 50 outsources that we would manage depending on the volume of orders that we had and that we needed to work with Okay So, your approach was let's keep all the secrets to our selves, or to you and Glen Let's just hire a bunch of people who can do one thing you know, hopefully they're not too smart enough to put it altogether and make sure they don't talk to each other Yeah, that's exactly it

Gerard, was that your approach? No No, that definitely wasn't the approach you know, for us it was more, you know, bringing it in-house

You know, it started with me and, you know, two friends, but we really had to, you know, build out that team internally and, you know, at the point of sale, we had it close to 70, you know, internally We did also Seventy employees? Right, and we did also have an external team that we, you know, that we brought on board, we had over 2000 contributors that we had to also teach the process of what it took for them to be able to write and contribute the right content and what we were looking for, what type of content, what type of topics, what type of headlines, all of the

you know, specific keywords But but, you know, it was a different model for sure You know, you don't find it common on that too, you know, when we talk about building a unique asset, I mean, I would say, you know, a process and a structure of an organization is an asset in itself also And I've, you know, grown companies from 0 to 300 people in two years and a couple of hundred I've done this a couple of times and, you know, on the 30 and 15, I'll tell you when you start to scale any business, if you really start to get scale, will develop a certain level of complexity that you're gonna have to manage just on the mundane business side Like not even just talking about, you know, doing unique things and and advertising and traffic generation Remember, just making the business work and have may orchestrating those people working together gets complex the more you get

As you add 20 people, it's the people who are managing that and doing that are very different from the people who work at 50 people, you know, and know how to manage that And as you start to grow, you'll actually start to build competitive assets just by virtue of growing the business and there's a lot to be said for that like even if you're not protecting a particular trick or anything, a business of that level of complexity won't be the kind of thing that one person can leave and just recreate overnight

But would you recommend that for someone like Dirk? So, he was building a business that was very much dependent on a small number of trade secrets, dependent upon whether what Google decides to do and how it reacts, is that really relevant for someone like Dirk? I have an SEO business that started with 15 people and now, over a hundred, about 150 And we went through sometime thinking about that because there was a time, people it's based overseas largely and a guy left and try to recreate it

But when I start to as I got into it, you know, I bought it and then, combined it with some of the stuff we were doing and bought into it with a partner, you know, once we grew to 30, 40 people, like he was really worried about it cause he was managing the overseas team but I was I said, "Don't worry" They can't reproduce what we have because it takes all these people to do it Like they could go and try to setup shop and try to hire the people and and inspire them and get them working and get the cash flow to make it all happen because you don't make money immediately with a business like that, it takes a little while That's a lot to be if someone wants try that, more power to him Every day we were building value We were growing and we were doing more So, you know, I'd really didn't worry about it and it hasn't been an issue for us as we've grown because we've built ahead of steam basically It's really hard to duplicate

An SEO in particular, you do build assets, I mean you're building whether to network a site or a single individual property You're building something that has a lot of value to it So, you know, on one level of your business, it's easy enough to for one person to leave and duplicate and steal entirely then, you certainly aren't ready to sell the business No one's gonna buy that, right? I would totally agree and I would say, you know, if someone's not trying to steal your business or recreate what you've done, you're doing something wrong You wanna make sure you did something even worth stealing in the first place In the first place that's step one Let me switch gears a little bit One of the challenges I think for many affiliates who are trying to do what you've done, build assets, see some sort of exit has to do with compliance And by compliance, I mean

and let's be honest here, you know, some if not certainly not all but a large number of the big campaigns that we hear about in the affiliate world, a lot of it is achieved because as result of someone pushing the boundaries on compliance in one form or another So, that maybe legal compliance, traffic sources, not abiding by the traffic source regulations, cloaking, offers that maybe a little bit shady, messaging that maybe a little bit misleading, a little bit aggressive, does the way you view compliance change if you're thinking about seeking an exit? Dirk

Yeah, absolutely If you're thinking about an exit then, compliance is incredibly important because as a buyer, your intention is to generate an ROI on your investment, right? And you don't wanna do anything that's gonna make that that ROI potentially risky So, compliance, whether it be legal issues, whether it be the fact that your traffic source could ban you and you could stop your source of revenue or whatever it may be, anything that can cause a risk to the buyer, that's gonna be a problem And that's we also had that not with legal compliance but when we started out our business, we literally started from nothing and we build that up but we didn't have the proper setup in terms of company, in terms of payment processes and things like that, and when it came to the point where we wanted to sell, we actually had bit of issues with that, which made it difficult to the amount of people that we could actually sell to Okay Gerard? Yeah I mean, you know, as an entrepreneur, you know, when you're, you know, you're a smaller team or you know, you're, you know, starting up a company, I mean or you're an affiliate marketer, I mean, you can

you know, it's our job to push the boundaries It's our job, you know, to really try to, you know really, you know, be creative think outside the box, you know Sometimes, you know, you're doing certain things for Elite Daily, you know, a lot of people in the early on goings was like, you know, how much are you buying traffic or using specific, you know you know you know, different sites to really buy that traffic rather than us actually knowing what we're doing and organically being able to understand how to get certain traffic viral And it's, you know, it's important, you know

I mean, you know, for us when we had DMG come to acquire us, that was a major factor I mean it was months and months and months of them coming in to the company, you know, completely understanding our process, making sure the we were compliant, making sure that that traffic was 100% legit and you know that we were up to par again to make sure and mitigate any risk whatsoever that, you know, if we'd burnt by interpreters or we weren't compliant, it would risk the business failing and not fit for them So, it's extremely important Carlos? One of the most important things that you can do if you're building a business, I think is to always look for distribution of risk To distribute risk in as many places as possible

So, for instance that might mean multiple traffic sources, multiple buyers of your products, your leads whatever it is as many as you can, and then, on top of that you always have to have a strategy for dealing with compliance, right? And it can be an issue These things happen This is one of the first times I realize Yahoo was a crap company was back in '06 when I got a call from their revenue depletion team And, you know, we were running 250,000 keywords on Yahoo, very successfully, people obviously loved what we're doing cause we were converting, we were able to pay for that and they said, "We don't think you should be advertising on this hundred thousand keywords so, we're turning them off tomorrow" and we were making a lot of money of those We are on a very steep growth path and we're trying show that, you know, to we're building the company to be able to sell at some point You don't wanna have a bleep like that and it was a big deal but because we also had Google and Bing and Ask Jeeves at that time and we also had other larger customers that we could rift, we could backfill on the other engines, we were able to deal with that but we had to be on top of that We had to know what they were doing and why because we knew Google and Bing were gonna do it soon and they did So, you know, you have to be on top of that

There's always gonna be this issues but if you have a strong story, any good acquirer is gonna understand that you know, we deal with this, right? We deal with companies that control entire markets, like Google and Facebook It's, you know, it's a close system So, there is a certain level of risk there but if you it can actually help you if you've had issues with compliance and things like that and overcome them over and over and you show a certain resilience and that you always have strategy for dealing with it and you recognize it's just a cause of doing business So, by time you were able to complete the sale, you know, you tied up a lot of these compliance loose ends, but maybe you could confess, you know, when you were starting out, where you always as clean or where you kind of pushing the boundaries a little bit? Who's that for? Anyone who wants to volunteer Of course you pushed the boundaries, you know, like there's a lot of company who've done this Again, this goes back to sort of the Michael Corleone plan of business I mean, Zynga started off using offer power which was just become tapped away doing an enormous amount of stuff that people would call pushing the boundaries, you know, as far as it can go and further And, you know, but they use that with a long term vision to build into something different

Tumbler started off you know, these guys were faking tens of thousands of accounts to make their business work initially Even Trip Advisor, I know, the founders of Trip Advisor it's a great SEO story and everyone knows that today but they started off by pushing the boundaries like crazy in terms of even fake reviews and things like that to build it

It became a great system They had a long term vision which is why it's a billion dollar company today, even more than that 7 billion So, yeah They sold it for yeah

a little bit quite a bit less But But you know, I think it's a pretty understood path and a legit path and we did it, too

When we didn't have to do there weren't as many boundaries in search in 2005 2006 They were discovering the boundaries with us So, we did push it as much as we needed to but we didn't have to so much all the time, although I think we could've probably done better had we done it more in some other spaces Yeah, I mean I said that, you know

I've been saying it since this morning I mean, you have to be able to push the boundaries Elite Daily, you know, no comment

I won't say, you know, what we, you know, in the early going but let just say, you know, we really pushed it And, you know, but you have to be willing to understand your limit You have to understand when it's time to really shift and, you know, and be able to you know, adapt and you know, know your limits really at the same time Yeah, so, I guess with the SEO thing, SEO is totally against, you know, any form of link building It's totally against Google's terms of service, so in that sense we built our entire business on something that's not really compliant But, you know, it's a globally accepted thing Businesses use it, everyone uses it

So, as long as we can manage the risk and adapt to the trends and the Google changes, you know, with Google it's incredibly frustrating I remember in the first year when we were building our business and Google change one of their algorithms, we lost about 30% of our clients just after 1 update because the site is tanked, not necessarily due to what we did, but because they lost their ranking so, they couldn't continue to pay, you know, it didn't make sense

And we thought our company was done after that We thought, you know, what's gonna happen, but actually it wasn't bad and it continued growing after that We adapted to what needed to be done We changed our angle of how we presented our service and after that we just continued growing So, you just have to keep adapting and you just have to make sure that it's of interest to the buyer

One other area where, I think all three of you differ dramatically is how you've decided to finance your business operations So, if I start with Dirk, you've bootstrapped your operations which I think is the way most affiliates run their business They try to generate as much revenue and cash as possible and then, pile back whatever profits back in to the business and reinvest without necessarily taking on external financing Carlos, you went the other route You raised venture capital where you've given up equity in your business to a third party I believe both institutional investors as well as corporate VCs

And Gerard you took on convertible debt Now, I think many people probably don't know what convertible debt is So, maybe I can just begin with you, what is convertible debt and why did you decide to finance Elite Daily that way instead of either bootstrapping or taking on a venture capital investor? You know, actually when we started the company, we did bootstrap and, you know, it was a highly competitive market You know, people were, you know, somewhat, you know, trying to look at our traffic and because we were so young and our trajectory of growth was just so high so quick, we were looking for a way to really also get us a sense of notoriety and credibility and we looked at, you know, going the venture route as a way to get that credibility and notoriety as well as to help us I think it is important and if you're looking to sell, it can help position you for an acquisition

And the convertible note for us was the most attractive most attractive route for us that was a bit more friendly for investors It's not straight equity

It's almost basically ask a loan to the company at a specific cap valuation and at the point where you're actually going to then, raise A round, like a series A round that will convert to equity at that point for the investors But they and if not, they still get a percentage back on the money that was given to you

So, you said that raising this convertible debt note could potentially help you with an exit Can you talk a little bit more about how that works? You know, for us, we were lucky enough to get a big venture firm to come in on this convertible note Greycroft and again it you know, it really solidi-

I think it helped solidify us in the media world and the tech world that we were for real You know, a company, a venture firm of that sort when it come in obviously they were gonna do their due diligence as well to really justify our team, our practice, our process, our traffic, our revenues and, you know, it was also, you know, with their connections, it was we were able to talk to them and strategically talk about, you know, who we wanted to bring on board, on our board or board of advisors to position for an acquisition

And we were able to actually be able to use those connections to get Jon Steinberg at that time to that was leaving Buzzfeed to go to DMG and it worked and our plan worked So, in addition to just finance, they brought you credibility, recognition as well as just a lot of strategic advice and options

Carlos? If I could come in on that really quick, I mean it can be very important intermediary step in that when we talk about, you know, can you sell an affiliate traditional affiliate business or whatever, your business may not be ready to be sold to an end company, like let's say the Post or some public company but investors and venture capitalist or private equity firms have a larger appetite for risk for one thing, they'll value the cash and the cash flow in a different way And if you get smart investors, they help you position it for those folks later and they'll even help you transition the business They'll come in and help you think about what that longer term plan is, but they might be willing to come in at that point when you know, a traditional buyer wouldn't So, it's a can be a very important transitory step, alright

Now, that being said, I'm not always a fan of investors I mean, for sure I mean, and they will help you, you know, build help you set that valuation, set that, you know, that first base line You know, it could work in both ways and, you know, handing it out to you and starting and bootstrapping, and I mean, if you can do that and you can bootstrap it and find the right buyer by doing it and and not have to go out seek outside funding

That's a fantastic way as well you know, to own a big, you know, a large or equity in your company Yeah, so, we just started out from nothing

We had a couple of thousand dollars that we invested in to this idea and we started off with one client and we never had the idea to sell initially We just thought it was a nice thing, to make an extra money on the side, and eventually it just kept growing week after week, month after month till it got to a point where it was just really big, and what we did mainly is just we kept reinvesting the profit

So, that's the big thing, we didn't go out and spend it The initial months, we just took all the profits we had, we invested it back in to the business to grow, to get more clients, to increase our assets, buy more domains and things like that and that's how we ended up growing it So, we never we never even thought about venture capital or raising any sort of funds Wonderful I like to talk a little bit about just the daily aspect of running a company when you're trying to seek an exit, and

I'm reminded of a conversation that I had in London, STM held a meet up in London in March of this year I remember one speaking to one affiliate and him describing affiliate marketing as riding the most turbulent roller coaster in the world and he was saying that, you know, you have the most incredible highs combined with the most agonizing lows usually on the same day Is that any different when you're running a business but with an exit in mind? Though you'd still facing the exact same type of highs and lows and the challenges and the difficulties? For us firstly, like I said we never had an exit in mind so, we went we went running our business with that kind of mindset Eventually, it did get to a point where we started considering it, but at the point when we started considering about selling, I did notice to myself, I lost a lot of interest in the actual daily operations and in running the business So, that's something I think that's that can really affect you if you plan for an exit and it gets close to that point maybe you start to lose interest and it's hard to stay motivated Go ahead I mean, it could be a real brutal process for sure and it's destructing and

you know, for us, we actually, you know, we knew that we wanted to position ourselves to get acquired but we didn't know it was gonna happen as fast as it did as quickly, as it did when Jon Steinberg came on as advisor, it was really within like 3 months that he started to show interest with DMG And we were actually planning on we just started really scratching the surface with monetization

Really started to, you know, started to boost our revenues We were, at that point also considering doing our series A round to build out our valuation for the next phase and the acquisition came to us a little bit unexpectedly but, you know, we want we knew we had to seize that opportunity

But it was a huge distraction not only to us as founders and management but I mean, they came in, you know, really disrupting and pulling different employees They wanted to really get in within the company and it could be, you know, it's a tough for sure process You need to be able to make sure that, you know, every day you're still pushing forward but at the same time, you are, you know, making sure that the company got all t's crossed, i's dotted to make it, you know, still very attractive for that buyer and you're on pins and needles every day, you know, hoping that it's gonna get to to closure all the way to the point to where that wire goes out, you don't know You know, can the company can the acquirer be, you know, somewhat trying to, you know, it's nerve racking, looking into, diving into everything within the company

You know, but are they truly gonna go in all the way? So, it's a tough process Carlos? And to your point like any startup I've done 8, 9 companies, I mean, in

varying industries, from enterprise software to lead generation, whatever Like if you're having crazy highs and lows in the same period of a day, whatever you're doing, that's par for the course Don't feel like you're doing anything wrong

It's always been the case with every business I've done Nothing is a smooth ride straight up There's always some issues here and there So, you know, it's just I mean, it's that's why not everybody does this and not everyone does it successfully If they were that easy, everybody'd be doing it, right? So, you know, it's a measure of your resilience, that's a measure of your strength, right? Being able to cross those chasms and, anyone can enjoy the highs but being able to find a way to succeed out of a lows and and pick yourself up and keep inspiring your team is important And, you know, again that you can minimize the stuff, it was back to I was saying earlier about the whole, you know, you don't have any single point of failure if you can One of the things you're trying to do as the person running the business is distribute all your risk as much as you can, across, you know, whether it be, say sources of traffic, sources of revenue, people having more people to do more things You have no single point of failure on them either Those are all very important and they also help you right out the low points and, you know, your team is critically important to that I mean, I can't tell you how many times like, you know, when you do hit one of this very low points, where I'm feeling crushed but I can go talk to my partner one of your, you know one of my head of operations or something Or read Ryan Holiday's book What? Or read Ryan Holiday's book Or read Ryan's book exactly do whatever and or he may have and can tell me something from it

But, you know, you conquer this stuff as a team I mean, anything you do as a team, I've always found is a lot easier to accomplish and you know, that's distributing your emotional resilience as well by doing that So, what is the absolute lowest point that you've experienced on your company? Carlos? Oh boy there's quite a few of them you know I mean, I would say, well, I've had some troubles with investors actually, that were, like and this goes back to what I was saying about, no I don't like

there can be reasons to take investment They can help if you've got a plan for it, but my general experience has been, they suck most of the time And I had investors who came into a business, CourseAdvisor

that they were horrible They didn't get it at all And, you know, they've invest

our business was so growing so meteorically They've invested in it and seeing, you know, there's 20%, 40% a month growth whatever And there's

but we got to a point of seasonality in the business, it's education People go back to school when it's September and January generally in the states So, they've invested in August And as soon as they invested, it flattened out and they called me to the carpet and made us have weekly board meetings, when you wanna talk about a waste of freaking time Every board meeting I had to re explain what paid search was

They could not get it through their head had to spend 45 minutes re explaining paid search and what we do I called everybody in the industry, you know, I have a lot of contacts from conferences and things and said, "Guys, wants going on? I think it's cyclicality

" And they all said, "Yeah, this is seasonal September always sucks" Board wouldn't listen I had weekly board meetings until December and, you know, and then, they were pushing us to bring in another executive to share my duties and I was fine with that but it was hugely painful and a few months of like, you know, headaches, real headaches from the stress and the tension when there is really nothing going on in the business Instead of growing 40% a month, we were growing 15 and they were freaked out

Gerard the absolute lowest point? Wow, I mean, a lot of what Carlos is saying is just like bringing these nightmares back It's yeah for sure, I mean, I'll never forget

I mean it's a big responsibility taking in on investment, you know It's a very big responsibility and, you know, dealing with investors

is was rough for us as well, you know, we were all, you know, pretty young as well you know and, you know, it was tough, you know, long board meetings, explaining, you know, our vision, you know We're visionaries We wanted to test boundaries and, you know They, you know, the investors, in one aspect really, really helped us out but they also, you know, also held us back a lot as well and it was tough, like really long board meetings I think the lowest point was really towards the end of the year You know, November, December going through this process with Daily Mail, you know, looking to acquire us but at the same time, you know, we were trying to grow We were going through fund raising and it was tough, you know Also, you know, making sure that we were continuing to grow the business Facebook is getting ready to change their algorithms and are we gonna be able to maintain the same growth and traffic when Facebook changes those algorithms? You know, looking to continue to raise capital so that we can continue to pay, you know, pay our bills, grow, pay our boys, all of that stuff And then, you have, you know, you know, our acquirer coming in and randomly poaching employees asking questions, diving into every little nook and cranny of our traffic I mean, it was extremely stressful You know, I was running around meeting with all my advisors in New York City, nonstop, getting advice, you know, to see if this was even the right time to sell and that's a big point and part of it, you know It's like, is it the right time, you know? Looking really analyzing all this different variables, at the same time trying to continue to still grow that company And it was really, it was really tough I mean, for me even I even had a low point after the sale of the company It was like this bitter sweet moment where I went into, like a depression for days I was like that was my baby and I didn't wanna sell, you know I felt like we were just scratching the surface But, you know, there's so many different variables

You have partners, you have co-founders, you have team, you have the people that, you know, were believing in you day in and day out in the office and then, you have your investors There's a lot of different variables so, you really have to make sure that you can, you know, really, it tested your resilience You can't make emotional decisions, you know, you have to be really, you know, really get educated and that's when it's you know, you have to be at your best as an entrepreneur Dirk, I'd like to ask you a slightly different question It's much more practical So, you wanna sell your company You have interest

How do you even begin to determine what that's worth or what you willing to sell that for? Okay, so, for us with pretty much any internet marketing business, it's always possible to sell on a multiple if you have an asset So, in general like internet marketing businesses they get sold between 12 and 36 months of profit that is easy to do Obviously there's different ways to buy companies You can buy based on income or you can buy based on technology or potential or things like that But if you want a sure fire like conservative way to be able to sell your business that is just build up an asset that generates an income that is relatively safe and you can sell based on a multiple of that income

So, you know, if you're doing 3, 4 million a year in profits, you'd be able to sell that for 8 figures without too many issues if you have if you have an asset that goes along with that because that's a relatively risk free investment for someone I see, so in your case, it was fairly formulaic

You would compare it to some similar benchmarks on a multiple of earnings Gerard, I got to imagine, I'm no math major, but I gotta imagine that 50 million is not 12 months of profit I mean, they wanna really test the numbers with us right? It was really maintaining the traffic, you know, really, you know, proving out that we that we had not, you know, that we were able to be consistent in the virality of our audience and keeping them loyal to us as a brand Yeah I mean, it was tougher, but I mean, you know, it also is a multiple on revenues, right? And

you know, that was, you know, tough part for us too because you know, as a young company, we've really felt now, that we've position ourselves as a reputable brand, a loyal brand we've got our audience We really felt, you know, sh*t if we wait another year, you know, the traffic can potentially change you know Algorithms can change but, you know, we really feel can revenue can double, triple and

can we get a much higher multiple I mean it's, you know, so that does come into play for sure Carlos, do you wanna talk a little about valuation? Look, you have to tell a story that's what it's all about and there are people who know how to do this and are very good at it

Generally, they're called investment bankers, I wouldn't always recommend hiring them but there are boutique banking firms or you could find a guy who used to be at Goldman Sachs My current CFO was at Goldman Sachs for 7 years He can put together this pitch deck in his sleep But it's really important that you put together the story and you know, having the right investor can also be a part of that story, right? But, you know, everyone in here is a hustler Everyone in here knows how to sell and that's what you are doing is selling

I mean, some people say companies are bought, I disagree companies are sold As soon as you get a little bit of interest, you can actually encourage that interest and you build the story And it can, you know, I mean quite often, the actual asset can even be something of a story You, you know, talk about your processes People get excited

Look, sales happen emotionally Whatever people wanna say, like particularly if you're talking about 8 figures, low 8 figures, it's a lot easier to sell a company for under 50 million than it is over a hundred depending who you're going to in general, that's almost always true

And people get emotionally invested I've seen 9 figure deals done because the CEO just fell in love with the founder or the idea of the business It wasn't necessarily a good move So you know, you have to be able to just craft a really strong story around what you're doing And the better that is that helps change that multiple Let's say your average business and lead gen was doing selling for 5X or 5 to 6X you know, earnings

He beat that, right? And that's what the bankers say Cause you look at similar transactions and that's what someone like a Petsky Prunier or something can do and say, "Okay, here's all the deals that were done last year They're similar

They're done at an average of 65X earnings" But you have the story You grew faster, you know, our revenue, you know, triple the first 3 years and that's for companies who only went up, you know, 100% a year Or we have this unique tech that's gonna blow it up in another year

You know, we've actually sold, I mean we sold our company on a much higher multiple than that, of forward looking earnings So, we said, well you can't look back We're growing so fast that 20% a month you can't look at previous earnings 12 months No, look forward and you get someone excited and emotionally invested in the deal and they'll do it And you can get, you know

that ends up being, you know, effectively like if you say it's a if you sold it on 10X forward looking, it ends up being like a 20X trailing depending on your growth rate something like that So, you can actually do really well doing that but it's really about crafting that

the story that's gonna entice them emotionally I think I'm hiring Carlos to sell my company Well, I think the point that he makes is a really encouraging one because I think everyone in this audience were here because we know how to sell something And whether it is selling an app, selling some sort of insurance offer or selling a company, it is still playing on the same basic insights like human psychology, of persuasion, of convincing individuals and so, you know, it is not just a skill sets that I think affiliate marketers develop It's not just applicable to running campaigns on specific traffic sources, but it's applicable much more broadly in various aspects of life, particularly when it comes to selling very large asset such as a company Gerard, you mention something which I thought was quite interesting, which was around in fact, that you actually got depressed after you sold your company, at least, perhaps for a short period of time but you actually went through that and I love to just get a better understanding of just

so, you put in all this hard work, all this grueling hours, all the pain that you put in, you know finally pays off into what you've dreamed of which is an exit Now, just tell me what that feels like On the one hand, you know, you have given your baby away to someone else

On the other hand, you have a lot more zeros on your bank account So, what do you do? Do you go out? Are you depressed that you no longer control the company? Do you go out and start buying yachts yachts and sports cars? Do you even feel more energized than before and you wanna do something next? What just goes through your mind? Yeah, and I'm sure no one feels bad

you know, and I definitely wanna get the yacht sooner or later But I mean, you know, it's it was like our baby, you know You start it, you bootstrap it, you know you start from your apartment, you see the growth You know, it's just, you know, it's just it's tough sometimes you know, we were talking about this Carlos earlier, you know sometimes you just

you're saying, "Screw this, get them out" right? It wasn't my baby I was ready to push that sucker out the door

You know, and it's like it's great to get a win under your belt And that's important and you know, there's a point, you know, where we realized that

also that, you know, Elite Daily wasn't something that I wanted to define me or our co-founders We wanted to be something that was bigger than anyone of us, you know We wanted to be in a position where it was with the right partner, not just sell this for multiple so that Elite Daily can continue to live on, you know, for many, many, many years to come and continue to grow and impact more people and be a brand that will

you know, will be something that we'll be proud of for a very long time and elite and you know, Daily Mail really gave us the infrastructure to scale and that was the right deal and you know, it was tough, you know, but until, you know, at the moment when I, you know, look back and call home and call my you know, kids I grow up with since kindergarten like sh*t it's, you know, it's not that bad, you know what I'm saying Carlos? You know, this can sound silly, but there's actually quite a lot

there is discussion groups Go on Quora and look it up There's book written about this It's a big issue in the valley dealing with you actually do kind of enter a bit of existential crisis when particularly when you're just handed a bunch of money It's like

It's like, look at the people who won the lotto, like almost to a person and you look at him 5 years later and they're a mess, half their kids are on drugs They've lost all the money, right? whatever like It's just weird like if you earn it and you guys and you put it away, that's

you're gonna value it in a different way But when you do sell and you suddenly get up and whether it was your baby or not even, you get up and you're gonna go to a meeting and you'd think, "I don't have to go to this meeting My bank account's got all these zeros in it

Screw them I'm gonna play golf" And you it starts to feel you lose some sense of purpose for? And I was, you know, like it's gonna happen and as I said, you can read about it There's a lot of stuff out there and people talk about it and it sounds kinda like a bunch of humble brag bullsh*t

But like and to extent maybe, you know, it's a high class problem to have But it's something you do really need to think about cause you can end up doing some really dumb stuff as a result of it But, you know, I will just say, you know, take some time Plan to take time It just takes some time off

You know, when you do that and just do whatever, have fun, think about things other than business because a lot of us, you're working so hard, you're defining yourself by your business And when it's not there anymore, you lose some piece of that definition

And it can actually feel really weird and you can feel a little lost for a while You know, if I could add to a minute you know, for me also it gave me

it put me to a position to be able to give back, right? And it's like so important, you know, as an entrepreneur to get a be in a position where you can give back to the people that supported you your whole life For me, it was like being able to pay off my parent's mortgage, you know Take care of my sister, pay off her college, you know Do certain things I started

just started my non-for-profit, building a co-working space in Newark, which is like a really, you know, an area, you know, with that's an inner city, with a lot of poverty where my family grew up and being able to now, teach entrepreneurship and it allowed me to kinda also take a step back and look back on what was done and say, "Hey, you know, how can I get my how, you know, get out there now and tell my story and be able to now, inspire and motivate other early stage entrepreneurs and help guide them and mentor them" And that really was what was a big passion for me

So, it gave me the ability to be able to do that Very powerful, and Dirk what keeps you going and I'm sure now, you can have a very comfortable life what keeps your motivation going? Yeah, so, I agree a bit with Carlos, like when we sold our business, I was happy to get rid of it cause it was, you know, it was

you know, it was a day You wanna kick that baby out Yeah, yeah exactly but at the same time, because we spend, you know, every day for the last more than 2 years working on this, it just occupies your thoughts and suddenly you don't have it anymore and then, it just feels like you're missing something, right? So, for me what keeps me motivated is I learned a lot from this business that we built up and I know, we made a lot of mistakes

So, I just feel I haven't I haven't reached anywhere near my potential yet and I wanna do it better this time around So, yeah

Hell, yeah So, I have to ask, what is the most extravagant purchase that you made with all those zeros Carlos? Geez, where do I start? Watches for 40 thousand dollars No, mine would, I mean, it was a vineyard, a house with a vineyard, and if you've ever heard people say

they say this about a lot of industries but if you you wanna know how to make a small fortune? Start with a large one and buy a vineyard And that's one way to keep you motivated too You spoil your money But yeah, a nice house with a vineyard It was great It was interesting for a while Gerard? You know

I've lived an awesome life, you know, and have done, you know, I've had like this but before Elite Daily sale, you know, I've had the, you know, the nice cars and, you know, the penthouse in New York and, you know, I've had fun So for me, it was immediately more investing, you know obviously in non-for-profit too

So, you know, I just invested in a new residential, 64-story building on Lexington and 50th in New York City I'm an active angel investor So, heavily, heavily investing into different entrepreneurs and different startups, you know, and just putting my money to work, you know Like I relayed to you in saying that, you know, it's not the time to be extravagant It's the time to take it, learn from our lessons and know, that, you know, we can continue to push forward and you know, still

Now, you're making me look bad man Sorry Dirk? I did that stuff too Yeah, sure you did

It's one of the other answer You wanna know what the fun stuff was <i>[simultaneously speaking]</i> Yeah So, I haven't really made any, like material purchases I like to travel I don't really like to own stuff cause it's just maintenance and difficult, you know So, I don't even own a car I don't own a house or anything

I just like to travel I like to go where I want when I want and, yeah I spend my money on that

Wonderful, so, let's suppose that you're starting all over again Not much money Not too many connections or even that much experience So, what would be your game plan if you wanna grow another 8-figure plus business related to marketing, affiliate marketing, internet marketing and the like? I would say, you know, one good way to do it I mean, like everybody here is hustling and kinda figuring out already So, that's great but if you don't really know, where to start with it, you know, go get a job at a company that does this And there is a company in New York, I don't know if you knew it, Venture Direct For a while, years ago, they'd

was a training ground for the people doing affiliate marketing basically and they were probably a hundred some people, sold it made them some money but they probably started 25 companies out of that company and all doing the same kind of thing Everyone in there learned how to do it, what to do and then, went off and had contacts, had a network, you know, and knew people in the industry, knew the right places to go after and that's a great way to do it and there's nothing wrong with saying, "Look I'm gonna

" it's like, you know, going to school except a better learning You say, "I wanna spend 2 years at this company that does a really good job at this stuff and I'm gonna learn what to do" You know, I mean, we bootstrapped

I mean, I would take the same road, you know For me again, it's about team, you know I would get go

you know, be able to find the right team that can align this at my values, the same goals, same passion, you know, and just, you know, roll up my sleeves and go for it No matter what, no matter what your business is, you're gonna hit you're gonna it's about solving problems

You're gonna have those challenges You're gonna you got to learn how to just keep pushing forward

You know, just get out there and continue the network and build out that network I mean, that's why we're all here Dirk? So, I'd say if I have to start over again, which I'm kinda doing now since we sold the business is I'd focus on recurring recurring income based businesses So, that can be either software as a service or whether it's a, you know, any kind of service that you provide where you have recurring income So with the affiliate marketing industry, it's mainly based around one time sales But if you even if you're making good income, you have to keep making the same amount of sales every single month just to maintain your income whereas if you're focusing on recurring income, if you keep putting in that effort, you're gonna grow month after month after month

And things like software, like apps, they have they have relatively low cost to be able to design them Specially if you know how to code yourself and you know how to launch them yourself

You can do that for under 10K If you outsource it 30, 40, 50K, you can get yourself something good that can generate 7 figures and more Great Let me ask you about personal branding, and the reason I ask this is increasingly we're seeing large number of affiliates trying to develop their own personal brand Having blogs, doing a lot of outreach on social media, are really building up themselves as an individual above and beyond just the campaigns that they're running And this is also an area where all 3 of you have taken very different approaches So, if we take the case of Dirk, you're very difficult to find online We have to go very, very, very deeply into some SEO's specialized websites

I think Carlos you're on some of the standard social media, but you don't have your own website You know, you don't I don't think you do too much social media posting

Gerard, you're off the charts So, I don't know, if on on the back of his great presentation this morning, you've actually had a chance to look for Gerard on social media or on websites

Gerard, you have your own websites You have an incredible social presence Instagram account filled with beautifully shot photos of Ferraris, yachts, tigers, exotic travel You've branded your name You've had a custom logo for your initials, a trademark and description of yourself

talk to us about personal branding and is that do you see that as net positive when you're trying to build new companies and eventually exit them? Do you see them as a potential hindrance and why have you taken that approach where and Carlos and Dirk, why have you taken a complete different approach? You know, for me I just saw a gap were when we exited, I looked at the thought leadership landscape really For me that was like the first thing and there is some just

and you know, amazing thought leaders out there but I I did see that there was, you know, a little bit of a gap for millennial thought leaders And obviously, building Elite Daily, I you know, I looked at my story and I wanted to be able to get out there, tell my story and

you know, I think social media has given us the ability to just really build up a huge, you know, a huge audience, a huge following It's a great way to test test things out, you know you know, test out what people think

Immediately get a quick focused group I've been able to use it for, you know to get a lot of different opinions And, you know, I also think it also build some brand equity You know, for me getting ready to, you know as an investor, you know, it brings some, you know, bring some cloud and helping you know, the companies that I advise, that I get involved in And, you know you know, it's interesting cause, you know, one of my mentors always told me, he's never an expert of any one thing He's an expert of experts and I've you know, I've always try to take that approach

But now, you know, I do want to, you know build up that, build up my personal brand And it seems that that can be very powerful so, Carlos, Dirk why have you not done this? You know, I think it's

I'm old I'd say, 2 things I am old and I got a family now I did this with one of my first company I started in New York

We, you know, we raised 75 million dollars Took it public, you know, and that kind of stuff And I was out in front of that doing the press, doing the conferences, speaking and I was a lot younger And I was a lot more interested in doing it at that time But I, you know, I also saw that

for a company in particular that doesn't do a whole hell of a lot, like delivering on doing something great matters a lot more So, as I've gotten older and done more things, it's more important to me to deliver great product behind the scenes but even more than that, like now I've got a company with, you know, Fortune 500 clients and and, you know, growing really well with a lot of, you know, and the clients have got or run the spectrum of opinions and ideas, I actually would think it's a little dangerous for me to be out there cause I might say something I'd be very likely to that, you know, someone might disagree with and I don't wanna lose a client because they said, "That guy is a jack ass" something like that So, like I actually prefer to be behind the scenes and build up other people on the company for it, you know, and to be leaders in the space But it's important A business needs to be seen as forward thinking and as a leader and

but that can be other people in your business It can, you know, bring benefit to the whole business and you can do it carefully but that's the reason I prefer to sort of sit behind now Dirk? Yeah, I agree with Carlos

I'm the same I don't necessarily want to be associated or be the face of my company I want my company to work and the clients like the company for the services that they provide and the value that they provide and not necessarily because I'm the face And also another thing like when you wanna sell something and you are the brand How does the company continue if you're not the face of the company anymore? So, that's my reason why I don't really prefer to We'll, we're running very close on time, I think I'll finish with 2 final questions The last question will just be for you to give any word of advice or maybe the most important advice that you've gone

But before that I like to ask a question about education And one thing that I've always found incredible about affiliate marketing is that it's an industry open to people of all backgrounds It can be a successful affiliate that used to be a construction worker or successful affiliates that have PhD's in biochemistry And I think that's just great that there's not just because, maybe you didn't pursue formal education or went down a particular career path, that doesn't mean that affiliate marketing is not available for you Now, all 3 of you have taken very different approaches to higher education So, Dirk didn't go to university Gerard I think you went to university for 1 month and dropped out? And Carlos you went to arguably one of the best universities, MIT, on a full scholarship

So, very different backgrounds can you just talk to me about whether you think or maybe whether you think that the educational decision that you've made was the right one, and whether you actually believe that higher education is even necessary in order to become successful in this types of entrepreneur activities? Dirk? Yeah so, I came from a background were my father and my grandfather, they were all entrepreneurs They never went to university

So, I guess I was just kind of conditioned with the same thing If you work hard and you dedicate yourself and you build your own business, you can make money You don't necessarily need to go to university And I'm happy with the decision I think anyone can build a successful business and I think you actually learn more from building up your own business and failing at it than going to university and learning the theory behind how to build a business

Gerard? So, you know, I completely agree I think, you know, especially when like building a business, I mean, you can't learn that in books I mean, you have to learn from getting out there and trying and you know, making those mistakes and learn from failure and I've failed early on in my career and had to fight through adversity, learn from that and continue And I looked at college as like a big business, you know, I'm pro education but, you know, I feel, you know, we're on an era where you can go out You can self-educate yourself You can learn how to build a business without without going to school I'm a testament to that so as Dirk so Carlos So, a lot of people a lot of my friends call me hypocrite here but

it's funny, when we first met I started going off of one of my standard rants, getting my soap box, talking about what bullsh*t 4-year college is It's a complete waste of time I think and I've never met anybody in 25 years of business who actually needed their 4-year degree I was even saying this to a doctor the other night saying, "Well, you probably needed some more years in your med school" And he turned to me and said, "No, no, not really It was all wasted

I could have done med school in a year maybe and then, some on the job training" So, you know, and it was funny I was saying this to Gerard and he tells me he made a documentary called The College Conspiracy and I say, "Aw, geez I gotta go see this" And there is no way anyone can tell you it's necessary By any means, it is not Now, at the same time, I'd be lying to say it hasn't helped me It's

I built a great network at college and it's opened tons of doors for me and people formed an opinion about me before they meet me because they hear of my background or where I went to school That's dumb but that's how our society works But, you know, my network I'd built since college when you look at what I've done in business, way more effective

Like I have powerful friends from college and I've done some things with them but I've done a lot more with the people I've met in the business world, and I've learned a million times more by starting companies and failing and getting things wrong, getting some things right and getting out there and doing it So, by no means is it necessary if you're gonna do it, you know, it's worth it to go to a place that has serious brand name, MIT or Harvard or something or and there are many other great schools that are gonna help you with that networking or opening doors later but it's not necessary

Wonderful, well this has been fantastic I think it's really I've learned tremendously from, just this conversation and I believe many of the audiences have at least taken away a number of profound insights around how to at least start take in the first step if you are interested in taking your skills, assets and relationships and turning it to something much, much bigger, both from a personal but also from a wealth creation perspective

We're just running out of time so, I would love if each one of you could just close with just one most important piece of advice that either you think this audience could benefit from or one most important advice that you received yourself that has helped you in your career Dirk? Yeah, so, I'd definitely say focus on building an asset, think longer term and think bigger, you know It's not just about the next 6 months or the next year or even the next 5 years, like where do you wanna end up? It's nice to be making good money now, but what if that stops? So, think bigger and try and focus on building an asset that you can eventually sell

Gerard Yeah, I would say to, you know, continue to just build your network

You know, if you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room Continue to really put yourself in, you know, tough, tough situations You know, and continue to just build out that network of people that you can really learn from That's really helped me along the way Carlos, bring some

Everybody in here is good at spreadsheets You gotta be able to do equations to do what we do I would say there's a really important equation that everyone should think about and I'll contradict this a little bit at the end but if I gave you 10 million dollars tonight, what do you gonna do with it to earn? Could you guarantee that you would earn 500 thousand dollars in the next year and every year after that of that 10 million investing it? There's no way

there's no way you can guarantee a 5% after tax return There's a very good chance you put it in stock, you'll lose if the market goes up and down So, if you got a business that producing 500 thousand a year for you, 750, you've got the equivalent of 10 million to 15 million in the bank untouched

There's an enormous amount of value to that And you'll learn when you sell something and you make maybe single digit millions or something It's great for a little while But it doesn't it's not necessarily gonna last And, you know, it depends where you live, what you're doing, whatever But get married, have some kids, you'll see In Bangkok, it will last Yeah, in Bangkok, it will last But, you know, that's something really important to think about, like I've I thought a lot about this more that owning the means real wealth is owning the means of production and, you know, doing your business is the means of production

So, that's something really important to think about before you do this Now, there is a level of which or a number of which everybody's got which you can have

which you can do a lot more, you can go start another business whatever that it's worth selling it for and, you know, I would just say on that front, it's a little bit contradicting that but sell early, sell often I think it was Bernard Baruch who said, someone ask him, "How do you get so wealthy?" and he said, "I sold to soon" And, you know, if you got the chance, if the opportunity presents itself and you haven't done it, you never know the vigors of business, you know, business can change Google algorithms change Facebook comes on the scene

It disappears Pinterest is there Stuff changes all the time and if it gets to the point, you happen to be at one of those crest, where you could get money for your business, take it Certainly, for the first one Get that under your belt

You've done it and it put you in a different place to go do it again Well, this has been great I think all of us would agree that there's been enormous amount of knowledge bombs dropped in this past hour I'd like to thank all 3 of the panelist Dirk, Gerard, and Carlos for sharing all of their experiences, insights, experience and war stories If you can join me in giving them a round of applause

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